I’m sensing a pattern here – a pattern of people having a completely wrong concept of food and how to utilize nutrition to lower their body fat (lose weight). I know I’ve discussed these concepts a few times on my blog but evidently it bears repeating.
Here’s how the pattern displays: I ask a potential client how much they eat. They reply with anything from “I eat a lot” to “I try to keep it to 1200 calories or less” or some other such nonsense. Then I probe a little deeper and usually discover that (a) they do NOT eat a lot or (b) they actually have no clue how many calories they are really ingesting. I found out one client was eating six 5-calorie mints a day. Do the math: 5×6=30. That’s 30 calories they were not counting. As you may know if you follow me, miro-managing your calories is a waste of time in my opinion.
Finally comes the part where I shock this person by telling them they are not eating enough. The human body is designed for movement, movement supported by fuel (food). The machine (our bodies) takes fuel in (ideally clean and healthy fuel) and then hums along seamlessly running everything from blood flow, circulation, digestion and brain processing (behind the scenes) to supporting us as we walk, run, lift, twist, kneel, and of course, exercise.
If you do not put in regular, consistent quantities (and quality) of fuel, our bodies know to store the fuel for slower disbursement and later use. They way fuel is stored is FAT. If you do not use that stored fat, it remains in your body. If you’ve ever watched NBC’s The Biggest Loser you’ll see that the trainers (Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels) are always telling the contestants they have to eat more to lower their body fat!
SO, once again, fuel in – fuel out. Eating six times a day is essential. The quantity and quality matters as well. I had a client who was eating six times a day, but after reviewing her food journal (something I highly recommend you keep), it was obvious that her six meals were what I call “squirrel food.”
Here’s an example of what the I eat a lot people, actually eat:
7:00 a.m. Breakfast: 1 Egg, 1 slice of toast w/jam, Orange Juice
12:00 p.m. Lunch: Grilled chicken salad, piece of fruit
3:00 p.m. Snack: Granola bar
7:00 p.m. Dinner: Pasta with protein & marinara sauce
Why is this a problem? First, you have a 12 hour fast from dinner to breakfast. Second, you have a long stretch between breakfast and lunch. Third, while both the lunch salad and the dinner pasta are very filling so they feel like they’ve eaten a lot, the reality is this is not enough fuel to support a day’s worth of activities. Remember, if you have a sedentary job, your body has a lot of work going on “behind the scenes.”
Here’s an example of those who eat squirrel food meals:
7:00 a.m. Breakfast: small bowl of oatmeal with blueberries
10:00 a.m. Snack: handful of nuts and grapes
12:00 p.m. Lunch: Half a turkey & veggie sandwich, apples slices
3:00 p.m. Snack: 1 DNA Life Bar (there are 2 in a pack)
7:00 p.m. Dinner: ½ chicken breast, quinoa and roasted veggies
9:00 p.m. Snack: ½ apple with peanut butter
Now while this meal plan is way better than the I eat a lot sample above, you still have too little quantity in each meal. Especially if you are actively engaged in an hour of exercise at least four times a week. Your initial body fat loss will plateau very soon and leave you stuck in your fat loss goals.
Now here’s an example of balanced nutrition for the average person’s needs:
7:00 a.m. Breakfast: Bowl of oatmeal with natural peanut butter, bananas, & real maple syrup
10:00 a.m. Snack: Handful of almonds, handful of grapes, 2 DNA Life bars
12:00 p.m. Lunch: Half a turkey sandwich + veggies & humus
3:00 p.m. Snack: Other half of turkey sandwich
5:00 p.m. Gym: Protein shake
7:00 p.m. Dinner: Full chicken breast, quinoa & roasted veggies
9:00 p.m. Snack: Small serving of 3-bean salad (black, kidney, chickpea) + an apple
So the next time you wonder why you’re not seeing a difference in how your clothes fit (or if you’re still weight focused – on the scale), perhaps this detailed itemization will help you adjust your own nutrition to a more effective level. Of course, if you have questions or would like a meal plan catered exactly to your needs, you know where to find me! (www.workouts247.com)